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Climbers Rejoice: BLM Cancels Public Land Auction in Utah

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The Bureau of Land Management’s latest decision regarding its September public lands auction is a huge win for climbers.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has sided with public lands advocates to retain more than 50,000 acres of public land previously bookmarked for an oil and gas lease.

After weeks of outcry and pushback from the climbing community, the BLM announced today it would not auction off a large section of public lands in Moab for oil and gas exploits.

All of the land involved in the potential lease is located within Utah, near Moab — home to many renowned climbing and recreation areas like Arches National Park, Indian Creek, and Spring Canyon.

“We’d like to thank all of the climbers around the country who responded to our call,” said Access Fund Executive Director Chris Winter. “This is a big win for the climbing community, and is proof that we’re a powerful force for protecting public lands.”

According to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the BLM is actually required to conduct quarterly, competitive leases to offer available oil and gas lease parcels. However, which public lands it chooses to nominate for lease is highly subjective, and this is one area where advocacy really makes a difference.

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More Land Up for Lease

Instead of the proposed 85,000 acres of public land — which would have impacted a large area of Moab climbing — the BLM is only leasing 23 parcels. Still though, that’s actually a lot. The parcels add up to roughly 27,400 acres across multiple counties and are still part of the “internet-based onshore oil and gas competitive lease sale.”

The public can still weigh in on the future of these parcels from now until August 21. The BLM accepts comments via mail or email. To learn more about the lease and the lands at stake, visit the BLM’s website here.

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